Metanorma: Aequitate Verum

Editor tips

The following tips complement the information in: Metanorma AsciiDoc tips.

Use lowercase image filenames

Some platforms have file systems that have case-sensitive filenames.

Linux uses case-sensitive file systems, i.e. image.PNG and image.png are different file names.

Example 1. Impact of mixed-case filenames across platforms

If you have a file named image.PNG and use image::image.png[] to include the image, it will work on macOS and Windows, but will fail on Linux.

On Linux, Metanorma will fail to find the specified image.png.

The best practice is to keep all filenames in lowercase to ensure that the document is portable across platforms.

If you are on Windows, and have multiple filenames ending in .PNG, there is a straightforward way to change them all at once:

  1. Go to the folder where the images are located.

  2. Place the cursor in the bar address, write cmd and press ENTER. The command line will open on that folder location.

  3. In the command line, execute the command ren .PNG *.png, and all .PNG files will be renamed as *.png.

Using different math expression languages

Math expressions can be written in the AsciiMath, LaTeX math, UnicodeMath formats. The default math language in Metanorma is AsciiMath, accepted by \$...\$ command and in the [stem] block.

There are two ways to use alternative math languages.

  1. Use math language specific commands:

    • AsciiMath:: \$...\$, [stem,lang=asciimath]

    • LaTeX math:: \(...\), [stem,lang=latexmath]

    • UnicodeMath:: unicodemath:[…​], [stem,lang=unicodemath]

  2. Change the default math language for the whole document through the :stem: document attribute.

    • AsciiMath:: :stem: asciimath.

    • LaTeX math:: :stem: latexmath.

    • UnicodeMath:: :stem: unicodemath.

While the AsciiMath default and can handle most cases, as not all symbols and expressions are available in AsciiMath.

Example 2. Unavailable symbols in AsciiMath

The \backepsilon (∍) and \mathbb{E} (𝔼) symbols are not available in AsciiMath, amongst others.

Verify math formulas before encoding in Metanorma

Metanorma relies on Plurimath to render the correct math presentation of all math representation languages.

If you are not familiar with the expression of math in the math representation language, or are unsure how it wil be rendered, do take time to check the formula on the Plurimath website, which provides you with a converter to verify the output of the formula.

Especially pay attention to the "math tree", which indicates how the formula is understood by a computer, such that the intended semantics are correctly encoded.

Do not use math arrays

The LaTeX eqnarray environment for equation arrays is not supported by Plurimath. Users are encouraged to use multiple formula blocks instead in order for every equation to be individually numbered.

Keep table formatting at the top level

AsciiDoc provides flexibility in formatting individual table cells by prefixing them with corresponding markup elements.

When a table column shares the same formatting requirements, the formatting options can be specified at column specification. These include:

  • cell alignment

  • cell width

The example below demonstrates the usage of the specifier, which left-aligns the first column and prefixes all its cells with a to interpret the content as AsciiDoc. The second column is horizontally centered, and the third column is right-aligned. Additionally, a header option is added to the table.

Example 3. Using table column specifiers for alignment
| Column 1 | Column 2 | Column 3

| left aligned | centered | right aligned
The table header is always separated from table content by a blank line, in order to allow long tables spanning pages to properly render table headers repeated on every new page.

Unnumbered elements

The attribute %unnumbered is used to prevent Metanorma from assigning unique numbers to elements.

Elements that can be unnumbered include:

  • equation blocks

  • figures

  • tables

  • notes

  • examples

  • and code blocks.

Clauses and subclauses cannot be unnumbered.
Example 4. Unnumbered image
.Caption image
Example 5. Unnumbered table
.Caption table
| This | is
| a | table
Example 6. Unnumbered formula
y = x^2

Removing title from sections and subsections

To remove section and subsection titles, use the sequence {blank} as its title.

Example 7. Untitled section headings
//Blank section
== {blank}

//Blank subsection
=== {blank}

Escaping control characters

AsciiDoc uses certain control characters to denote formatting and structure.

To render these control characters literally, the backslash (\) character can be used to "escape" them.

However, there are cases where the standard backslash escaping approach does not work as expected, due to the inherent ambiguity of the AsciiDoc syntax.

For instance, if you want to display a double hyphen -- instead of an em-dash , the backslash method (\--) will not achieve the desired result.

In such situations, you can use the Zero Width Non Joiner entity &#x200c; to obtain the correct output. The formatted double hyphen would appear as -&#x200c;-.

Generally, authors should first attempt to escape characters using the backslash, and if that proves ineffective, resort to using the &#x200c; entity instead.

Proper usage of normative references

The Normative references clause in Metanorma documents is a specific section reserved for citing external sources that are considered authoritative for the content.

It is important to note that the use of numeric references (e.g., []) is not permitted within this section.

If a reference cannot be automatically fetched using a standard identifier as the reference tag, authors should use alternative textual descriptions to identify the source.

Example 8. Using alternative textual descriptions in the bibliography
== Normative references

* [[[netcdf,LLNL NetCDF CF Metadata Conventions]]],
span:title[NetCDF CF Metadata Conventions].
span:organization[Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory].

Numeric references are only permitted within the Bibliography clause, which can include both generic and standard references.

Failure to adhere to this convention may result in compilation errors or incorrect document generation, depending on the specific AsciiDoc flavor being used (e.g., OGC). Authors are encouraged to consult the Metanorma documentation for more information on composing references and bibliographies in AsciiDoc.

For more information about composing references and bibliography, see: Bibliography